Skin Cancer, Nonmelanoma
Surgery is the most common and most successful method of treating nonmelanoma skin cancer. The goals of surgery are to:
- Remove the entire skin cancer and a margin of healthy skin tissue around the cancer to reduce the chance of recurrence.
- Preserve nearby skin tissue that is free of cancer and minimize scarring after surgery.
The main types of surgery for nonmelanoma skin cancer include:
- Reference Mohs micrographic surgery. This surgery removes the skin cancer one layer at a time, checking each layer for cancer cells right after it is removed.
- Reference Excision. Excision removes the skin cancer along with some healthy skin tissue around it (margin).
- Reference Curettage and electrosurgery. Curettage uses a spoon-shaped instrument (curette) to scrape off the skin cancer, and electrosurgery controls the bleeding and destroys any remaining cancer cells.
Other types of surgery that may be done include:
- Reference Cryosurgery. Cryosurgery destroys the skin cancer by freezing it with liquid nitrogen.
- Reference Laser surgery. Lasers use an intense beam of light to remove skin cancer.
- Reference Dermabrasion Opens New Window. Dermabrasion scrapes off cancer cells in the top layer of skin using a swirling wire brush or small particles.
Each type of treatment has Reference advantages and disadvantages. Discuss your options with your doctor.
What to think about
If Reference squamous cell carcinoma Opens New Window has spread to the Reference lymph nodes Opens New Window, surgery to remove the affected lymph nodes (Reference lymphadenectomy) may be done. Reference Radiation Opens New Window or Reference chemotherapy Opens New Window may be recommended after surgery.
|By:||Reference Healthwise Staff||Last Revised: Reference October 2, 2012|
|Medical Review:||Reference E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine
Reference Amy McMichael, MD - Dermatology